Gum disease is one of the most common yet serious oral health conditions. It is an infection that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later before it compromises the support of your tooth and damages your jawbone. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and it can even threaten your overall health.
The early stages of gum disease are very treatable, which makes it especially important to recognize its warnings signs. Typical gum disease symptoms are gums that are puffy, red or bleeding. While these are recognizable in most patients, those who smoke may not catch these prevalent signs. Essentially, if you smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, you may be suffering from gum disease without even knowing it.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. This means that when you smoke cigarettes, the nicotine reduces blood flow to the small blood vessels in your gum tissues. This can make the gums appear more pale and smooth or otherwise “healthy.” This appearance stands in stark contrast to the red and bleeding gums that gum disease presents. Unfortunately, for smokers, just because your gums look healthy doesn’t mean they actually are. In reality, your gums could be detaching from the tooth root and causing destruction beneath the gum line. Another setback for smokers is that once gum disease has set in, it is even harder for the immune system to fight back against the infection.
If you aren’t willing to kick your smoking habit (which will provide invaluable benefits to your oral health and body health), then you’ll at least need to make sure you are visiting your dentist for routine exams. During these visits, you will be given a periodontal screening to measure the attachment levels of your gums and bone around each tooth. This may be the only way to detect gum disease when a smoking habit is hiding primary symptoms.
If you smoke and notice gum recession, bad breath or loose teeth, please call us right away. At Gainesville Dental Group, we work hard to help patients avoid gum disease, but we are fully equipped to provide the latest periodontal treatments when necessary. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.
1026 Thompson Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30501
Wednesday & Thursday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM